Macau’s active enforcement against illegal activities in the city’s casinos was again displayed in the past few days, with a fresh operation that began on Friday.
An update on the action by the Judiciary Police, the body responsible for dealing with casino criminality, was given on Tuesday by Chan Chong In, acting head of its gaming-related crimes division.
On Saturday, following police activity at several casinos in downtown Macau – that the police did not identify – 12 people were taken away in order to have their identities verified. Two of the 12 were eventually detained on suspicion of providing illicit money exchange services. There was also police action in Cotai on Tuesday on the same issue.
In his Tuesday remarks following the latest police action, the Judiciary Police’s Mr Chan indicated such activity had not become what he termed an “acute” criminal trend.
“Following a series of combatting operations since the beginning of this year, we haven’t really seen that these activities have got more acute,” he stated in an impromptu press briefing held outdoors near the City of Dreams Macau casino resort in Cotai on Tuesday. There was no suggestion that the location of the briefing – near a property of Macau casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd – indicated that venue had any particular law enforcement issue.
Mr Chan added: “The people that were engaged in these activities have not committed more serious criminal acts.”
The Judiciary Police had taken part that day on Cotai in an anti-crime operation coordinated by the city’s Unitary Police Service. It led to the detention of 20 people, mostly said to be residents of mainland China. A total of 17 among the 20 were detained on suspicion of involvement in illicit money exchange, the Judiciary Police told local media.
“We’ve always been paying close attention to illegal money exchange services and the crimes that stem from it. We will continue to observe the criminal trend and combat these activities,” Mr Chan.
The official also pledged that the police would continue to conduct suppression operations against such unauthorised activity.
Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, noted in late May that a priority for the city’s police forces this year was combatting illicit money exchange inside and around casinos.
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"The casinos have to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The decision [to suspend casino operations] is up to the government. As of now, we don’t have any plan to change the existing regulations"
Lei Wai Nong
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance